"Black Betty" a 03 Rubicon Build
Well I have been meaning to do a build thread for some time now.
I built and wheeled the heck out on a xj for several years. I was happy with it but It was time to look for a TJ.
In the end I was wanting a capable TJ on 35's. I am sure 37-itus disease will strike me down eventually.:thumbsup:
Rough Country 4" Long Arm Lift - complete
Good Year MT/R 35 x 12.50 -15 - complete
Pro Comp 7032 wheels -- complete
Home brew - bumpers/tire carrier, rock sliders, winch mount - complete
Smittybilt tube fenders and flares front/rear - complete
Smittybilt XRC-8 with rope - complete
Under Cover Fab skid - original 2" deep version - complete
Lopro tranny mount - complete
Rusty's HD tierod - complete
LEDs front and rear - complete
Genright - hood vents - complete
Home brew front bumper
Superior shafts front and rear - complete
I am in a situation where this is a "kick-around" toy and not my daily driver. I also have a truck and trailer that I will use to get me to the trail most of the time.
I looked several months for a deal. THere are way to many 4 bangers out there!!! I was planning on settling for a early TJ and not spend more than $5-6K. Looked at a few and passed up a few. Then one day on CL there was a one day quick sale on a 03 Rubi.
It was more than I planned on spending up front, but I am sure that I will be money ahead in the end. It was about an hour from the house. I grabbed a envelope full of $100's, a buddy, and handgun and went to look at it. It was night time and out in a rural area. You never know about CL and scams. At least if was going to be robbed, I could go down shooting:cool: Ended up being a ligit Rubi from an one owner lady. It had high miles and one small spot of rust on the back of the tub. SHe was trading it in the next day and already had a deal hammered out, so she posted it on CL for a quick sale to not lose as much on it. It had spent some time in NY. She would not come off her price any at all, so I left jeepless that night. For what ever reason I called her back the next morning, she accepted my offer. I was back home by noon with high mileage, Black 2003 Rubicon, w/NV3550.
The big joke was that I had a Lowered jeep. It did set a little low on 31's.
I bought it in March of 09 and just ran around town, to the kids ball games and such for the rest of the year, I never had the top back on it the first 9 months. I was still wheelin the xj at this time.
My work slows down in the winter and gives me a little more time to mess with. I started ordering parts. First was a 4" Rough Country LA kit.
I have a buddy in our club ( Bluegrass 4x4.org ) that has an awesome shop with a lift. Black Betty spent a few days over there in Jan 2010.
Point of no return - BTW: sawsall worked great for this. Mike was the cutting/ welding guru for this project.
Pitman arm was one of the only stubborn nuts we had to deal with. I think we had to cut off one other bolt, a rear trac bar bolt.
:wave:** I had been spraying every nut and bolt under this jeep for 9 months with PB blaster and WD.
I went for the weld on version:cheers2:
THis was a very complete kit, install was fairly straight forward. I was and still am very happy with my choice.
I had a set of Rubi wheels and 33's from my xj. Here is how it set after leaving Kenny's shop with the new lift installed.
I had slight vibs, but it drove great. It was actually nice to drive. I drove it almost everyday for the next month or so in the cold weather.
I eventually bought a double cardian drive shaft for the rear. I found it at Tattons, he has a ebay store. I called him directly and ordered a 1330 CV rear shaft. A lot cheaper than a Woods shaft.
Up the RTI to check clearance on everything. Yes, it will go up it futher.
:( Rear shocks are way to short and limit droop. I called RC and they stated that these were the longest they had for this lift. The guys with the 6" kit are going to be disapointed IMO.
If I recall, it scored a 975 on a 30* ramp in stock trim, 1190's after the lift and on 33's. Recently with 35's I unhooked the rear shocks and got into the 1300's.
I had to replace a wheel bearing unit. Like I said this TJ spent some time in NY. I ran into stuff like this from time to time. Made a plunge cut into the bearing housing.
Next mod: Custom rear tire carrier bumper and modify stock rubi rock rails.
After that: black out more stuff, 35's, Tube fenders front and rear (cut the rear opening a little bigger), LEDs, alloy axles, UCF TT w/low profile tranny mount, and on, and on..................
Looks good. I'd like to hear how that RC LA kit holds up over time.
Custom Rear bumper - tire carrier
Went back to the K-Built shop for some fab work. My buddy Kenny has built several of these bumpers. Each one gets a little better IMO. I cannot find all the photos from this build. I will add more as I find them.
We started with 2"x6" x 1/4" tubing for the base. We also welded a rear stiffener to the factory rear crossmember. We used 1/4" plate for this. The swing out was made from 2" square tube, thin wall. A leaf spring eye off a XJ leaf pak was the bearing housing on a 1" spindle. The latch was a 1/2" hitch pin. We put a spring on it inside the tube. I have about $60 worth of materials in the bumper.
Cut in a place for a reciever
We ended up hiding these bolt heads. We cut them off flush and welded them to make a smooth finish.
Modified Rubicon Sliders.
We took the stock Rubicon slider and added a piece of 2" x 4" tube to stiffen them up and provide a small step. I have small kids that have to climb in and out of this rig.
I do not have a photo of the 2x4 cut out. This is basically how we sectioned it to open up the back of the tube. This will explain it.
It leaves me with a step of about 2 3/4" wide. I extended the front and rear to go under the flare. Provides full coverage from flying mud and water.
I have slammed them down hard as few times already. They seem to be holding up very well. I have about $20 of materials into a decent set of sliders. Rock on :banana:
I plan to change the mounting hardware to something a little bigger. The stock bolts are small M6. I found some nice looking M10 tapered allen heads with a black finish. I might even consider a backing plate inside the tub.
Nice build... looks like she will be a nice trail / driver!
Keeping with the blacked out theme. I tinted the hard door windows with limo tint. It made the soft windows look much darker as well.
and before tint
I plan to continue to black out items on the TJ. I gotta hide those chrome headlight bezels, will switch back to black wheels, and some sort of black or tinted LED's for the rear. I will not pay the price they want for lite-dots.
4 more goodies were dropped off by the big brown santa. I plan to mount them back on the black steelies that came with the jeep
35 x 12.50 - 15 Good Year MT/R
I was not real sure how well the 35's would fit with stock fenders and 4" of lift. I can say I am very pleased with the stance that I have.
I went to Harlan right after I got these mounted. That was a great test. I did have a little rubbing in the rear when it fully stuffed. It was not that bad, I could live with it. I ran them at 8psi on the trail. :2thumbsup: Very happy with the MT/R. I was torn between the KM2s and MT/R. I could have gotten the KM2 a little cheaper, but for whatever reason I went with the Goodyear. One other guy in our club had them and they were very impressive in the slick conditions.
Harlan - poser pic
Our local club: Bluegrass 4x4 had a Cruise in with a nice obstacle. I cleaned up Black Betty and showed her off.
I have wheeled her several time since the lift. I just dont have many pic to show for it. I am still very happy with the set-up.
I got a hold of a piece of 1/4" inch plate large enough for a winch plate. I took it to a local fab shop. They put in their "little" 500 ton press and bent me couple of 90* angles in it for me. Winch plate total cost: metal free + bend = $10 :thumbsup:
I did the rest of the cutting and got it ready to fit the heep. I will tie it into all 4 bolt holes on top of the frame. I will be removing the stock sway bar. Someday I will probably run the currie set up.
I had the back side of the plate turned up to provide more strength.
With the Smittybilt XRC-8 and rope
Love the look of your Jeep, Im looking to lift mine like it this winter. Im glad to see that I can run 35's I can deal with a little rubbing. How is the ride with the longarm.
I'm so jealous!!
One suggestion I would do if you wanted to do a blackout look is to take the pinstrip off and remove the red ring from the wheels. Would look soooo nice!
I may have missed it but what are you doing about the limited travel on your shocks? Replacing them with another brand or what? I'm asking because I have RC shocks as well and I'm wondering what some good options are.
As far as wheels, I have the Pro Comp Alloy 7032 on there now.
Big Brown Santa brought me five of these.
what front fenders are you useing?
Cut up your stock fenders
Install was very easy. Took about an hour for the first one and about 30 minutes for the second side. A jig saw and a sawsall for the tight spots was all I needed.
They have a crinkle finish. They seem to be holding up well. I am thinking about painting over the crinkle finish with a glossy paint to make it match the tub a little better.
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